Oct 4, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; New York Islanders right wing Michael Grabner (40) skates with the puck past New Jersey Devils defenseman Adam Larsson (5) during the first period at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Snap Shots: New York Islanders @ New Jersey Devils - 10/4/13

Welcome to ‘Snap Shots’, our condensed, quick-fix post-game follow up after every match.

Gives you, the reader, bulleted results/impressions/reactions of the game in a flash.

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New York Islanders at New Jersey Devils

Prudential Center, October 4th, 2013

SEASON OPENER

Islanders (4) – Devils (3 ) OT/SHOOTOUT

 

Pre-Game Quips & Questions (Stats courtesy of NYI Gameday Notes)

The New York Islanders went an even .500 during their 8-game exhibition season, playing only a single matchup at the Coliseum (against the Nashville Predators), and ending their preseason venture with a three-game winning streak finalized in Ottawa.

Captain John Tavares finishes September with 4G/1A , while Matt Moulson 1G/4A. Perhaps a harbinger of things to come?

Will the Islanders use their speed to expose and exploit an imbalanced and sluggish Devils squad, who in their own right, are using three players (Ryane Clowe, Michael Ryder, and Jaromir Jagr) to fill the void left behind by Ilya Kovalchuk?

Does Martin Brodeur still have enough left in him to put together a winning season for his club, and most importantly, continue proving to be the thorn in the Islanders side, as the past would dictate?

The Islanders are historically a poor ‘season opening’ team (9-21-10), so the question remains, just how groundbreaking is this new Islander team in comparison to those of yesteryear?

Lastly, tonight’s matchup marks some important debuts: John Tavares as the 14th captain in this franchise’s history; Matt Donovan and Brock Nelson make their official NHL regular season debut; Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin don their official Islanders jerseys for the first time, as well.

Another important note: 5 of the Islanders dressed this evening were drafted in 2008 (Josh Bailey, Matt Donovan, Travis Hamonic, Matt Martin, and Kevin Poulin)

Will newcomers Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin help establish the Islanders’s third line, giving them depth not seen in recent years? Will Brock Nelson be the rookie breakout sensation many are hoping he’ll be?

Let’s see how it all turns out….

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+/

Period One

  • Islanders hit the ground running in the first two minutes of the opening period: Tavares with two scoring opportunities, and Grabner with a breakaway opportunity robbed by Martin Brodeur
  • Michael Grabner shows why speed kills: finds an opening, splits the Devils’ defense–not before Travis Hamonic rifles a cross-ice pass–and scores the first Islander goal of this regular season (8:07) 1-1 Tied (second breakaway of the evening)
  • Devils called for Hooking at 9:05; Isles first PP of the season
  • Islanders definitely showing the better stamina by period’s end

Period Two

  • Peter Regin’s line looks to be the one with the most overall chemistry
  • Isles kill off Devils first PK attempt
  • Nabokov with some critical saves late in the period; regaining form
  • Isles third-line do a good job of pressing inside the offensive zone; good puck cycling
  • Michael Grabner another goal off another (partial) breakaway (13:43) 2-2 TIED (third breakaway of the evening)
  • Josh Bailey and Michael Grabner with the most energy on the ice at this juncture

Period Three

  • Nabokov with the early third period save; side to side move robs Adam Henrique
  • Frans Nielsen fools Brodeur and sneaks the puck passed him; play helped along by Matt Donovan (1:01) 3-2 Isles 
  • Grabner is virtually covering the entire rink: skating fast and fluid–the most dangerous player on the ice tonight
  • Peter Regin and his linemates playing incredibly well; looked the most in-synch than Tavares’s
  • Regin looks strong and crafty on the PK; strong defensive instincts on this PK shift
  • Okposo clanks a shot off the crossbar; nice 2-on-1 opportunity
  • Grabner with fourth breakaway opportunity, but stopped by Brodeur
  • Devils penalty at a critical moment: Ryan Carter (10:04); Isles on the PP as Casey Cizikas draws the penalty
  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard robbed of a goal by a spectacular save by Brodeur (pads in the air). Brock Nelson with a great pass, all the while showing poise
  • The New York Islanders get their first point of the season

Overtime

  • Tavares with a 2-on-1 opportunity, Bailey on his wing.
  • Nabokov strong and confident this period. Great game overall

Shootout

  • Nabokov stops Brunner’s attempt. Left pad.
  • Nabokov stops Clowe’s wristshot. Blocker side
  • Nabokov stops Elias. Great, quick save
  • Zajac misses completely
  • Ryder stopped by Nabokov’s right pad
  • Jagr stopped by Nabokov’s right pad
  • Moulson wins it with stick side shot!

/-

Period One

  • Nabokov misjudges shot, as puck bounces off glove and the crossbar, landing square in his crease, and then pushed in by Damien Brunner (2:59) 1-0 Devils
  • Devils carrying the momentum mid way through the first period, and owned most of the open ice and, thus, scoring opportunities
  • Isles pushed to the perimeter for most of their first PP opportunity; 0-1 on the PP
  • Backchecking needs retuning for a better second period

Period Two

  • Islanders open up the period with continued sloppy backchecking; Devils with 3 shots within the first 30s
  • John Tavares with a turnover inside the neutral zone that almost cost the Isles a goal
  • Kyle Okposo a bit slow in his transitions inside the neutral zone, and then gets clobbered inside the offensive zone
  • Michael Ryder left alone in the slot area, buries the Devils’ second goal–all due to dreadfully sloppy backchecking (4:46) 2-1 Devils 
  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard called for Interference (5:40)–lost the battle on the backcheck deep inside his defensive zone
  • Isles PK looks a bit disorganized and certainly lack assertiveness
  • Isles team flat by period’s closing
  • Isles slow inside the netural zone

Period Three

  • Tavares with another bad clear, as the Devils pick it up for a scoring chance
  • Brock Nelson with a Hooking penalty; bad penalty on his part. (5:26)
  • Devils tie it after the PP concluded; again another example of poor backchecking. No one picks up the Devil Brunner (7:34) 3-3 TIED
  • Nabokov forced to make a big save while his team was on the PP
  • Nothing doing on the Isles PP
  • Poor neutral zone coverage; Devils walking into the offensive zone virtually untouched

Overtime

  • No scoring. Skills competition to commence.

Shootout

  • Frans Nieslen misses on the backhand
  • Brodeur easily stops Bouchard’s shot; glove
  • Brodeur stops John Tavares; glove
  • Bailey hits the post
  • Brodeur beats Okposo; right pad

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Post-Game Responses & Reactions

Lineup:

O: Moulson-Tavares-Okposo; Grabner-Nielsen-Bailey; Nelson-Regin-Bouchard; Martin-Cizikas-McDonald.

D: MacDonald-Hamonic; Hickey-Visnovsky; Strait-Donovan

G: Evgeni Nabokov

 

Overall, the New York Islanders need to regroup and rethink their special teams, and their overall defensive philosophy.  This game demonstrated some individual success (Grabner, Bailey, Nielsen, Cizikas, Donovan, and Nabokov), but team still needs to gel.

Sloppy most especially on the backcheck, and John Tavares looked slow on his feet and with his stick. Early season rust showing. Nothing too much to worry over.

Most impressive was the play of the Peter Regin line: strong on the puck, smart in the offensive zone, and with Regin, strong backchecking. The Newbie Line is what the Isles need at this moment, for the other lines are not as in-synch.

Evgeni Nabokov was the better goalie this evening, and if were not for the sloppy defensive play, the scoring would’ve been much lower.

Jack Capuano leaving Rookie Matt Donovan out for the last two minutes of the third period–this bodes well for Donovan’s confidence and his standing with the club.

Islanders need to improve upon their neutral zone coverage, showing a bit more speed and fluidity in their transitions.

Great overtime action proved insufficient, as the first shootout of the 2013-2014 visits the Prudential Center.

Truth be told: quite a fast-paced, entertaining game.

Hockey is back…and the Isles avenge the Barclays defeat.

 

–RD (@RDNHL)

 

 

 

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